Max Upcycling an Old Computer Case

Max Mahoney (Chemistry) and I spent much of today building out some cyanotype exposure boxes for an upcoming Science Center activity.  The boxes are re-purposed lighting fixtures. For the lids, we used the removable access panels from old Gateway desktop computers I had stored in the closet years ago, cutting them in various ways to mount two different styles of UV LED lights that will be used to expose the prints.

Max Cuts

Next steps include installing some handles in the lids, adding some kind of reflective treatment – foil or silver metallic spray paint? – to the inside surfaces, and creating viewing windows with UV filtering acrylic to allow students to monitor the progress of their prints.

Cyanotype Development Box

Had the opportunity to work with students from FLC’s Math & Engineering Club this afternoon. In a conversation some weeks back, Brandon (club president) and I discussed using the XBox Kinect sensor as a 3D scanner, something I’ve been wanting to do since last semester, but have not had the time to get going. I let Brandon know that I had two such sensors in the lab – the 360 version and the newer XBox One version – and so we arranged to meet today to go over the process. Brandon as it turned out brought the whole club.

Students from the Math and Engineering Club 3D Scanning

They set to work scanning one of their colleagues, along the way learning things about object placement, lighting, and the Skanect software. Meanwhile, the newly-formed Data Science Club met in the main lab to talk about an app they’re designing.


While Brandon worked on cleaning up the scan of Chris, I walked the other students through changing filament on the Ultimaker and setting up a print job in Cura.

Students from the Math and Engineering Club 3D Scanning

Brandon ended up doing the Han Solo frozen in carbonite treatment to deal with some weirdness on the back of the scan, in the process adding a party hat.  I let Chris do the honors of starting the print, and then we set up OBS Studio to stream the print job to YouTube so that the M&E students could monitor progress remotely.

Chris, Scanned with the XBox Kinect Sensor

As it turns out, the model didn’t quite print correctly, so there’s some work to do there, but isn’t that why we prototype?


This was the first of hopefully many chances for the M&E Club to work in the Innovation Center, and I’m looking forward to finding ways to plug students in to various projects, in the mold of the History game tiles project.


Sat down the other day with student Alex Hartigan (he of the Calculus III models) to talk about designing an OpenSCAD version of Gena Estep’s (Professor of History) History game tiles. After talking it through, Alex went off and did an incredible job creating a very flexible version of the model that can be configured in lots of ways in the Thingiverse Customizer.  Alex is the kind of student who doesn’t do things half way, and so of course he created four different possible “Mate Types” for connecting the various pieces.

Alex's OpenSCAD Model

As with most things, version one needed a little tweaking.  Specifically, as is often the case in digital fabrication, size and scale needed to be worked out, and Alex was able to quickly adjust the default sizes of the text and other elements so that they were more likely to print successfully without a bunch of post processing.

History Game Prototype v2

This project is one model of the kind of faculty/student collaboration I’m trying to foster.  Too often good ideas never see the light of day because of assorted limitations, be they time or resources or skills.  In this example, Gena had a great idea, and Alex was able to bring that idea to life in a way that enables relatively easy production.  To close the loop, Gena has found a student who is interested in doing the work in Thingiverse to configure and download the various game pieces and print them.  It’s my hope that the relationships we’ve been building between the Innovation Center and especially interested students – from the Math & Engineering Club for instance, and the Data Science Club and Science Center – will lead to many more examples of these kinds of projects and partnerships.

Met today with Faith Caplan, who teaches in the Engineering Academy at Cordova High School, one of the college’s feeder high schools not far from our new Rancho Cordova Center.  Faith showed me around her lab, we talked about her courses and programs, and I shared with her the outline of our MAKR courses and certificates.  I also had the opportunity to talk to her Makers Club students about some of their projects.

Makers Club at Cordova High School

Looking forward to figuring out ways we might work together. Some ideas include sharing curriculum, creating opportunities for FLC’s Math and Engineering club to connect with their club, establishing a “sister lab” relationship like the one we’ve got with Georgetown Makerspace, and maybe working together on projects or events.

Makers Club at Cordova High School

Canvas Basics
October 7th, 10-11 AM
November 4th, 10-11 AM
FL1-135 (Library Classroom)

This workshop is ideal for beginners, first-time Canvas users, and folks who want a brief introduction before transitioning courses from D2L.

Navigating the Canvas interface
Adding content to your Canvas shell
Working with Modules to present your course content

Canvas Assessment and Interaction
October 21, 10-11 AM
November 18th, 10-11 AM
FL1-135 (Library Classroom)

This workshop is designed for folks that want an introduction to some of the assessment and communication tools in Canvas.



Gena Estep (History) and I have been working on a prototype for a classroom activity that has students organizing and matching some important historical events and their outcomes.  She showed me a paper prototype, and I cooked up a quick design in SketchUp for some interlocking game pieces:

History Making, in the Making

A quick print and some post-processing with a Sharpie later…


The third tile didn’t quite work out, but for a first run it got the concept across. Next up: figuring out a reasonably quick production process for generating STLs for all the pieces needed.  I’m looking into using OpenSCAD to create customizable objects for the Thingiverse customizer.